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Old 03-09-2016, 01:43 PM   #1
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So what should I title my bus as..

I'm sure this thread has been beaten and battered already, but I cannot find one answering my question.

First off the beauty I'm referring to is a 2001 Freightliner handicap bus. It has the 5.9L Cummings Diesel, and blue bird body. It is a mid sized bus, not full sized. Also has air brakes.

Basically I'm wondering if I would run into any legal issues if I don't convert the title to an RV, and just leave it as it is. My insurance company already told me the titling/registration is not an issue, they would insure it as an RV regardless. As long as it looks and performs as an RV, and I provide pictures to prove so.

Now the license requirements is a sticky subject, mainly because out of the five different dmv clerks I've talked to, in five different cities in Tennessee, had no idea what I should do. Each clerk had conflicting answers to my questions, and I don't feel comfortable trusting any of them honestly. A state trooper told me I'm in the clear, as long as it looks like an RV, and has the amenities of so, I don't need a CDL or any other endorsements. Just a regular license will suffice according to this particular trooper.

I'm not positive if the actual registration will state it as a commercial vehicle, if I leave the title alone. Or if I could register it as a personal bus without having to pay 20 different fees and jump through a months worth of hoops. Which is what an RV title conversion looks like it will consist of.

I'm curious to see if anyone else has taken this route, and if you've had any issues.
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Old 03-09-2016, 01:47 PM   #2
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Depends mostly on local regs & requirements but in nearly all cases, registering as an RV is the best route as far as insurance & such.
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Old 03-09-2016, 01:47 PM   #3
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wait as I find my emails....what part of TN?

Here you go
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
let me find my emails,

have them take the title down to county clerks office, hand the title to clerk and say you need tags for this...DO NOT MAKE A FUSS ABOUT IT BEING A BUS, TN IT DOESN'T MATTER!!!!!!!!

People at tag office don't have a clue (and if they are clueless, they will send it to the next person) so keep it simple, if they say you need x y and z...tell them no you don't and hand them this copy of email


This is email conversation at state level

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you very much
Doug

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Email T&R [mailto:Email.T&R@tn.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 9:34 AM
To: Doug
Subject: RE: title info needed


No list on this type of project. Just keep your receipts and/or bill of sales for the things you get to convert.

Maybe from the different info you received it was for a rebuilt vehicle. Like if it was wrecked and you were rebuilding it. But that does not comply to your project.

Hope this helps,
Kathy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Doug
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 8:17 AM
To: Email T&R
Subject: RE: title info needed

Kathy

Thank you for the response

I have just been told different things about beds, cooking area and water supplies etc

I just want to do this correctly the first time and had hoped there was an actual list to use as a guide

Thank you
Doug

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Email T&R [mailto:Email.T&R@tn.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 9:09 AM
To: Doug Haynes
Subject: RE: title info needed

Good Morning,

Thank you for your email. Did you receive a title for the bus? If so, along with the title and you receipts for the conversion portion of the bus is all that you will need to title and register the vehicle. It may still be coded as a bus in our system, but you will register as a passenger vehicle.

Hope this helps,

Kathy

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Doug
Sent: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 6:04 AM
To: Email T&R
Subject: title info needed

I am buying a used school bus to convert to a motor home

I am looking for the required equipment to comply with a title transfer to a motor home

After several phone calls to local dmv I have received several very different answers

I can not find specific TN ann. codes to cover this

Can you help me?

Thank you
Doug

---------------------------------------------------------------------



Lastly get REGULAR tags you do not need weighted tags...

Here is link:

Current Tennessee License Plate

"Current Tennessee License Plate - This plate is available to Tennessee residents who are registering private passenger motor vehicles known as cars, station wagons, vans or pick-up trucks up to 3/4 ton rating and 9000 pounds and under in weight. This plate is valid for all motor homes regardless of their weight. The annual fee is $21.50."

so you can even get personalized plates.......
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Old 03-09-2016, 01:53 PM   #4
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I also actually was emailing two different people and got same answers, good luck
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Old 03-09-2016, 02:35 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info bansil!

I am located in Clarksville, TN.
And yeah, I found out very quickly that nobody in this area has a clue about this type of project.
I called and spoke with the county clerk manager on staff and she told me there actually is a list of 'codes', I suppose you could call them, to go by if I was to convert the title to an RV. I'll spare the details, but the process she explained sounds to be quite the pain. I am on a time limit for this project, which is a main aspect in my decisions as well.

So if I told the county clerk it is just a bus for my own personal use, they would title it as a passenger vehicle? I'm not positive on the weight of the bus, but I'm pretty sure it's over 9000lbs. The Weight and having air brakes are my main concern, Not sure if there is a solid way around a CDL if I don't convert the title. My thought is really the only way I would get nailed for driving it 'illegally' is if it states on registration that it's a commercial vehicle, and I get pulled over by a cop who wants to ruin my day and push the issue. If it is registered as a passenger vehicle, or RV obviously if I take that route, I don't see anyone giving me a hassle. But any advice is greatly appreciated!!
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Old 03-09-2016, 02:47 PM   #6
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I don't know about TN, but here in Oregon you have to have a class "B" license for anything that has air brakes. It's basically making sure you understand the workings of air brakes for safety as the operator. Large vehicles with hydraulic brakes only require a standard class "C" standard automotive license.

When at the DMV do not volunteer information. Answer questions with brevity and attempt to sway them to your idea of what to do with the bus. The DMV is usually pretty easy if you understand what they're going to want from you. It's the insurance companies that are giving me trouble.
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Old 03-09-2016, 02:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluetopia View Post
Thanks for the info bansil!

I am located in Clarksville, TN.
And yeah, I found out very quickly that nobody in this area has a clue about this type of project.
I called and spoke with the county clerk manager on staff and she told me there actually is a list of 'codes', I suppose you could call them, to go by if I was to convert the title to an RV. I'll spare the details, but the process she explained sounds to be quite the pain. I am on a time limit for this project, which is a main aspect in my decisions as well.

So if I told the county clerk it is just a bus for my own personal use, they would title it as a passenger vehicle? I'm not positive on the weight of the bus, but I'm pretty sure it's over 9000lbs. The Weight and having air brakes are my main concern, Not sure if there is a solid way around a CDL if I don't convert the title. My thought is really the only way I would get nailed for driving it 'illegally' is if it states on registration that it's a commercial vehicle, and I get pulled over by a cop who wants to ruin my day and push the issue. If it is registered as a passenger vehicle, or RV obviously if I take that route, I don't see anyone giving me a hassle. But any advice is greatly appreciated!!
I stayed in Clarkesville when we picked up my bus in Elkton KY.
Monteagle was an experience in a used 40' school bus, for sure!
Welcome, and best of luck in your DMV adventures!
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Old 03-09-2016, 03:33 PM   #8
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walk in to the dmv hand them title/bill of sale and drivers license and say "I just bought this and I need tags for it"

Print off my post with references to tag regulations, and since there are no written list/laws for what is in and classified as an RV or motor home you are good to go

It is NOT commercial so no commercial liscenecs needed, it is a personal vehicle for you to use...what are you using it for? CAMPING...not converting, not turning into an RV...you are just camping in it

It really is that simple, if you want we can chat on the phone this weekend and I can go over this in more detail
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Old 03-09-2016, 03:59 PM   #9
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In California you pay weight fees if it is commercial. RV might be $125 per year, commercial might be $1000-1500.
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Old 03-09-2016, 04:18 PM   #10
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Yeah monteagle is pretty awesome, if you have sufficient horsepower. Haha. But hey, a slow crawl just means more sight seeing
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